The Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, Center for Biological Diversity, Beyond Pesticides, and other advocates have filed lawsuits in recent years to get EPA to act protectively on neonics and other pesticides. The coalition of groups in the subject case seeks to rein in a plethora of harmful impacts of neonics, given EPA’s overall lack of protective action. (For recent developments, see here and here.) Indeed, in the absence of effective neonic regulation, many localities and states (e.g., Maine, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Portland and Eugene, Oregon), as well as France and unitary state entities, such as the European Union and the United Kingdom, have taken steps to ban or curb significantly the use of these noxious compounds.
Led by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) and the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the petition “asks EPA to amend its existing regulation for registrations of all neonicotinoid insecticides and other systemic insecticides so as to require all registration and re-registration applicants to provide performance (efficacy) data to ensure that the benefits of their products actually exceed their costs, including to society and to the environment.” Beyond Pesticides Executive Director Jay Feldman asserts that EPA does not evaluate the efficacy of pesticides, except for those deemed to have public health benefits (such as those used in a public health emergency or for a “special local need”); even then, he says agency action on the latter has hardly been stellar.